State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has filed a lawsuit against 19 chicken producers, accusing them of being involved in a decade-long illegal conspiracy to inflate and manipulate prices and rig bids, reported The Seattle Times.
There are 19 companies named in Ferguson’s lawsuit, and they account for approximately 95% of all chicken produced for meat; from chicken breasts people purchase at the grocery store, to the nuggets they buy at fast food restaurants, according to the recently filed lawsuit.
An estimated 90% of Washington consumers, about 7 million Washingtonians as well as the state’s hospitals, colleges, and nursing homes, buy products derived from the chickens these companies produce, according to the suit.
“If you’ve eaten chicken in the last decade, this conspiracy has touched your wallet,” Ferguson said in a statement. “This conspiracy cost middle-class and low-income Washington families more money to put food on their table. I will hold these companies accountable for the profits they illegally made off the backs of hardworking Washington families.”
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, October 26, in King County Superior Court, accuses the companies of illegally engaging in a variety of anticompetitive conduct to coordinate supply, as well as manipulate pricing since at least 2008. Ferguson said this conduct violates the Washington Consumer Protection Act and Washington antitrust laws.
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